September 2019 Print

President's Report

Thank you to all of the volunteers of the 2019 SEAOCC Convention Committee. Alban Gjongecaj (Convention Chair) and the rest of the Committee represented themselves and SEAOCC at the highest level.  Our SEAOCC colleagues on the Convention Committee worked very hard volunteering hours, days, weeks, and months of time over the last few years to deliver the Convention for the benefit of almost 500 attendees, and it showed.  Scroll down to see a list of the Convention Committee that deserve our thanks for their efforts.

The 2019 SEAOC Convention was an awesome event located at the beautiful Squaw Creek Resort in Olympic Valley.  There was something for absolutely everyone at every level of career development at this year’s Convention, including Drone Exhibition and Races, a YMF Roundtable Speed-Mentoring Event, 60+ Technical Sessions, Trade Show, delivery of the 2019 Blue Book, FEMA P-58 Training and Multiple Social Events.  Even my family enjoyed the convention.  On a side note, my 7-year-old daughter needs a drone for her birthday!

Attending a SEAOC convention is always an invigorating experience.  It’s an opportunity to step back from the day to day of our own practice, to see what our colleagues are working on, expand our thought processes, and to bring new ideas and energy home to improve our practice.  The temptation to stay in the office to “get work done” can be a trap, keeping you from inspiration and personal growth.  My recommendation is to resist staying trapped in the day-to-day.  Certainly work has to be done, but make time to develop yourself.  There is no better place to learn from such a wide variety of your peers than through participation in SEAOCC.

This year’s greatest inspirations for me, were the volunteers.  Beyond the Convention Committee chairs there were many volunteers serving as Technical Session Moderator’s, Runners, posting signage, and staffing the registration table.  You’ll see the same SEAOCC members volunteering for different Committee’s outside of the convention.  They see value in being active in SEAOCC.  My challenge to those of you not already involved, is to develop your career by following in the footsteps of the volunteers before you.  Attend a committee meeting (See Calendar of Events Below) that may interest you and get involved.  The relationships and experiences will help you grow.  While you’re at it, encourage your peers or your employees to get involved with you.

Convention Chair
Alban Gjongecaj
Lori Campbell
Communications & Past Chair
Bob Glasgow
John Weninger
Matt Quan
Keynote & Closing Sessions 
Lisa Podesto
Ali Sumer
Krista Looza
Renee Strand
Don Wilden
Art Ross
Welcome Reception
Darron Huntingdale
James Langelier
Thursday Evening 
Rachel Leung
Leticia Valenzuela
Friday Evening 
Computers & Structures, Inc.
Ryan Kersting
Max Hardy
PRESIDENT’S CUP – Sonia Eliseo
Mobile App
Matt Melcher
Kaylee Efstathiu
Kendall Johnson

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Calendar of Events


Existing Buildings Committee Meeting - Tuesday, September 17th

5:45 P.M. at Buehler Engineering, R.S.V.P. to Eric Fuller

Business Forum - Friday, September 20th

Noon at Lionakis, R.S.V.P. to Matt Melcher

Seismology Committee Meeting - Tuesday, September 24th

5:30 P.M. at Stantec Office, R.S.V.P. to David Palmer

October Membership Meeting - Tuesday, October 15th*

AISC 2019 T.R. Higgens Lecture by Dr. Ron Ziemian

*Please note that this is not the 2nd Tuesday of the month, but the 3rd Tuesday of the month

Continuing Education Seminar - November 21st.

2019 CBC "A" Chapter Updates, Plan Review, and Quality Control


Click here to see our calendar for the most up-to-date information!

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Committee Reports

Building code activity

By Douglas Krug, S.E., SEAOCC General Engineering Committee Chair

The SEAOC (State) General Engineering Committee, more generally known as the “Code Committee”, convened at the beautiful Resort at Squaw Creek just prior to SEAOC’s Annual Convention in August. Our agenda focused primarily on the current International Code Council (ICC) code development cycle structural proposals. This cycle, the “2018/2019 Group B Code Development Cycle” includes over 200 structural code change proposals that have been submitted for consideration by ICC and the voting constituent. Although this cycle had no SEAOC Code Committee-authored proposals, we reviewed and discussed whether we as a State Committee support or oppose proposals considered significant to our California structural engineering practice. We then decided which proposals our representative should address at ICC public hearings, either for or against. Steve Kerr (SEAOSD) has been our Committee’s representative at ICC hearings for several years and Steve attended the May Hearing in Albuquerque to speak for SEAOC on about 10 proposals and to work with proponents on code proposal language that might better serve our California profession. The next and final ICC public hearing is this October in Las Vegas to address public comments. Code change proposals accepted this cycle will end up in the 2021 IBC, the basis for our next 2022 California Building Code (that’s still a ways out).

The Committee also monitors code action originating from NCSEA, a national structural engineering organization with which SEAOC is affiliated, in attempts to better align their code influence with our Association’s interests. Steve also assists in these coordinating efforts.

As most of you are aware, our California structural code provisions have largely been relegated to those published in national reference standards (ACI, ASCE, AISC, AWC, etc.). These organizations have their own development cycles that often do not coincide with ICC cycles. The process by which they develop changes, accept input and comment, and ultimately publish new editions is difficult to monitor, much less influence. As ICC trends more toward standards adoption over IBC code text, the ability to have a voice in structural code development becomes more difficult. Our Committee continues to discuss ways we might better influence standard development processes with our limited resources.

Finally, the Committee will more actively monitor California State code development activity. Although California amendments created by the various State agencies (OSHPD, DSA, HCD, etc.) are limited in application – OSHPD for hospitals, DSA for schools, etc. – these amendments to the model code affect a significant inventory of buildings. Because the State’s code activities are largely based here in Sacramento, the opportunity to engage the process is local and unique to the Central California Section.

If you have questions or ideas, or if you’d like to become more active in code development, please send me an email at doug[at]

SE3 Committee annoucement

SEAOCC is pleased to announce the creation of its newest committee, SE3, which stands for Structural Engineering Engagement and Equity. The SE3 Project was established in 2015 with the mission of improving engagement and equity in the structural engineering profession.

Out first year will be spent recruiting committee members, creating our mission statement, and educating SEAOCC members on the importance and value of SE3.  The SEAOCC SE3 committee plans to organize two networking events this year: a panel discussion and a speed mentoring event. 

If you are interested in contributing to any of these efforts, please email Anna Tekautz at atekautz[at]

SEAOCC Seismolgoy Committee Update

By David Palmer, S.E., SEAOCC Seismology Chair

Over the past few years, the Seismology Committee has been working to update the SEAOC Blue Book.  Through the support of the SEAOC Board, the SEAOC Foundation, and several firms and individuals – the 2019 edition of the Blue Book was released last month at the 2019 SEAOC Convention.  Thank you to all of you who contributed to this effort.  There are new articles, and existing articles have been updated to reflect current code and practice.  Check it out!

We have also been involved with the first two Member Ballots from the Building Seismic Safety Council Provisions Update Committee.  The third ballot will be issued early this fall and we will be reviewing, commenting, and voting on these proposals for the 2020 NEHRP Provisions.  As noted in previous articles, this is an opportunity for us all to provide input into the building code development process, and I welcome yours. 

In the coming year, our focus will shift to new topics, one of which relates to changes in the wood design practice – most notably, CLT construction for gravity and lateral systems and the increased height allowances for wood construction.  If you are involved in wood design, your experience and input would be helpful in understanding and evaluating these new structural systems and practices.

The SEAOCC Seismology Committee will be meeting on Tuesday September 24th at the Stantec office on 3301 C Street, Suite 1900, Sacramento, CA 95816.  If you are interested in attending, please let me know by emailing me at david.palmer[at]

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Welcome New Members

New Members Approved on august 20, 2019

Christopher Abella, UC Davis - Student
Ahmed Al Jasar, UC Davis - Student
Ian Geocaris , UC Davis - Student
Ahmad Hassan, UC Davis - Student
Laura Hernandez-Bassal, UC Davis - Student
Ruizhi Jezzy Zhang, UC Davis - Student
Pouria Kourchpaz, UC Davis - Student
Rafael Molina-Cornejo, UC Davis - Student
Daniel Mount, UC Davis - Student
Brianna Murphy, UC Davis - Student
Yuanmin Ouyang, UC Davis - Student
Sagnik Pual, UC Davis - Student
Madison Richey, UC Davis - Student
Jesus Sanchez, UC Davis - Student
Lyuba Vosheva, UC Davis - Student
Sidney Wu, UC Davis - Student
Tiangi Zhang, UC Davis - Student
Sean Zheng, UC Davis - Student


new members approved on September 10, 2019

Kyle Baxter, Miyamoto International - Associate
Donovan Holder, CSU Sacramento - Student
Samantha Moose, GED - Member SE
Peter Simonsen, Interwest Consulting Group - Associate
Robert Vencill, Wood Wiley & Jebian Structural Engineers - Member
Tom Corlett, Verco Decking Inc - Industry
Chand Nischal, Verco Decking Inc - Industry

Posted members on September 10, 2019

Kimberly Dung, Bevier Student Engineering - Associate

Quang Phan, Paladin Design and Engineering - Member

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SEAOCC At the 2019 SEAOC Convention

convention overview

By Matt Quan, P.E. 

The SEAOC Convention in Squaw was a great success. The venue was charming with stunning views of Squaw Valley and perfect sunny weather for an enjoyable week of SEAOC activities. Through the opening/closing keynote sessions I learned a lot about wildfires and the efforts that are currently being done to mitigate damage to our communities. The technical sessions had interesting and varied topics including business, YMF mentoring, wood design, and retrofitting/seismic upgrades of existing structures among many other topics. During the welcoming reception we had breweries serving up great beer to add to the buzz of the night along with seeing and meeting old and new friends. Thursday night was the President’s Cup and High Camp dinner: the President’s Cup was a smashing success for SEAOC Central, winning the glorious lifesaver yet again for our President Ben to sit up on his mantle at home to proudly display. The Cup consisted of making a box cart that would go the farthest distance. Central cleverly came up with a paper stuffing sail that blew its way to the finish line, just squeaking ahead of SEAOC San Diego. High Camp dinner was surprisingly good, with the all-you-can-eat buffet line of steak, chicken, veggies, and much more. Friday night was the illustrious CSI party, an event never to be missed. A big thank you to Ashraf Habibullah for always throwing the best parties, the engineering community wouldn’t be the same without him, and our parties would be much more tame. The night consisted of a dancing exposition that harkened back to the early 20th century, as well as the Ashraf All-Stars turning up the music for a lively evening of dancing. Central also represented with our rendition of "Blank Space" by Taylor Swift during the karaoke portion of the night; it was certainly the most interesting way to make $100. Looking back on the Convention, it was a great week of friends, learning, and celebrating just how amazing the structural engineering community is. Looking forward to the next Convention!

Photo Gallery and Thoughts From SEAOCC Members

"What a great Convention.  It was fantastic to see all the planning and committee efforts pay off and come together for the convention experience in Lake Tahoe.  Many thanks to Sponsors, Exhibitors, Committee members, Speakers, Authors, and volunteers." - Matt Melcher

"Alban did such a phenomenal job leading the convention team. He poured his heart and soul into the convention, and did whatever it took to make it such a great success. Alban and the team definitely raised the bar for future conventions." - Bob Glasgow"If you are new to the engineering industry, this is the place to be. It’s the perfect opportunity to network with fellow engineers, visit with coworkers/peers/bosses/industry leaders in a non-work setting, attend a variety of technical sessions, obtain literature and learn about the new technologies from the industry sponsors.  If you are a seasoned engineer, this is your opportunity to give back to the community by sharing your knowledge, experience, and passion for engineering with the future leaders of our industry.

This was my third SEAOC Convention and it didn’t disappoint. My favorite part of all three conventions was the opportunity to catch up with and meet other engineers in a social setting. It’s wonderful to hear where other people are at in their careers. It’s empowering to see firsthand the support system in place for our industry, and inspiring to see so many volunteers in action to better our community." - Anna Tekautz

Bonus Video: Timelaspe of Welcome Bag Assembly.

Thanks to the help of committee members, 400 Welcome Bags were assembled.

Click on the screenshot below to view the video!

The 2019 Convention Proceedings are available online here!

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SEAOC Comment re. uc building safety

Reprint from

Recent articles in the Los Angeles Times regarding the vulnerability of University of California campus buildings (UCLA and UC Berkeley) are stark reminders of our state’s vulnerability to earthquakes and the need for modern, engineered solutions. The results of studies recently released for UC, and the damage at the China Lake Naval Weapons Station following the Searles Valley Earthquake Sequence, highlight that no organization or agency is immune from seismic risk. These studies, reviewing campuses with buildings spanning decades of engineering and construction practices, represent a small microcosm of the communities which surround them. The next, and broader, question should be, “What is the damage expectation for the cities and communities of Berkeley, Oakland, Westwood and Los Angeles?”  

The reports highlight “Serious” to “Severe” risks, and the completion of these studies should be applauded as the proper way to investigate and understand risks, allowing appropriate next steps to be defined. Ken O’Dell, President of the Structural Engineers Association of Southern California (SEAOSC), speaks to this here.

The Structural Engineers Association of California (SEAOC) encourages building owners and policy makers throughout California to follow the example of the UC Regents and begin or continue discussions on how similar information may be gained for their communities.

Seismic risks are real, and few buildings, even those built to modern codes, are immune from damage during a major earthquake. Determining the severity of the risk is only the first step. With this information the UC Regents can set priorities and mitigation strategies can be investigated and funded. This is not the first time the UC system has undertaken these assessments. The UC Seismic Safety Policy dates to the mid-1970s and has resulted in better design criteria and strengthened buildings over the years. However, as pointed out in the articles, structural engineering practice, including enhanced knowledge of regional seismology, continually develops. A great lesson from recent studies highlights the need for continual diligence in assessing risk, including that posed to retrofitted buildings. 

Whether as a resource to communities and policy makes or as a connection to individual members providing services, SEAOC is available to provide support and information to those seeking to understand their needs and determine a process for moving forward with mitigation. For further information, contact SEAOC Executive Director, Don Schinske at [email protected]


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Job Forum

Job Posting                                         Posting Expires
Aug. 23, 2019                                     Nov. 21, 2019



Million Dollar – Structural Engineering Practice

Job Posting                                        Posting Expires
Aug. 21, 2019                                    Oct. 23, 2019


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